The 7 Basic Principles of Jewelry Design

The 7 Basic Principles of Jewelry Design

I rarely hear anyone talk about this and I rarely talk about this myself, but consciously using the 7 basic principles of jewelry design is how you can take your jewelry making to the next level.

How can the 7 basic principles of jewelry design help you?

When you are making a jewelry piece and it just isn’t working.  You feel like something is off, but you can’t put your finger on it.  Most likely the issue is that one (or more) of the 7 basic principles of jewelry design are off.  Knowing these principles can help you get to the bottom of what’s wrong a lot more quickly.

The seven basic principles are:

  • Balance
  • Emphasis
  • Proportion
  • Movement
  • Contrast
  • Unity
  • Harmony

Not every piece will use every principle, but they’re important to think about when you’re designing jewelry pieces.

Let’s dig a little deeper into each principle

#1 Balance

Balance is the distribution of visual weights of materials, colors, textures and space in jewelry design.

There are four types of balance:

  • Symmetrical
  • Asymmetrical
  • Radial balanced (arranged around a central point)
  • Intentionally off-balance (has visual interest and motion)

#2 Emphasis

Emphasis is the focal point of the jewelry design that catches the viewer’s attention. It’s also referred to as dominance.

Ways to bring emphasis to your jewelry designs:

  • Use a different color from the rest of the piece.
  • Use a different size from the rest of the piece.
  • Use a different shape from the rest of the piece.
  • Use a different texture from the rest of the piece.

#3 Proportion

Proportion is the feeling of unity when all the elements of a piece (color, size, amount, etc.) relate well to each other.

Usually you don’t actually notice proportion unless something is out of proportion.  All the elements of your jewelry piece should be in proportion to each other.  You should also think about the jewelry piece being in proportion to the person wearing it.

#4 Movement

Movement is the path our eyes follow when looking at a piece of jewelry. Emphasis and contrast will create movement in your jewelry piece.

Movement is commonly achieved through:

  • Repetition
  • Rhythm
  • Action

#5 Contrast

Contrast is created by using components that conflict with one another, such as dark and light values.

#6  Unity

Unity is when the elements in a jewelry design work together.

Unity can be created by:

  • Proximity
  • Grouping like things together
  • Repeating color or texture

#7 Harmony

Harmony is how the different components in a jewelry design relate to and compliment each other.

I think often these design principles are innately in us quite often. You probably design jewelry pieces all the time successfully without even really thinking about them. However, when you’re struggling with a piece that just doesn’t seem to be working out, it is mostly likely because one of the 7 basic design principles is out of whack.

If you are struggling with a piece and can’t figure out why it’s not working, look at your piece and consider each of the 7 design principles.  Then you can work on fixing the issue with a better understanding of why it’s not working.

Do you feel like you need more creativity to get more ideas to create your own jewelry designs?  Then my Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse is here to help!

Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry

I’m now taking registrations for my eCourse, Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry!

It’s a 6 week eCourse that includes creativity boosters, jewelry making skills and jewelry projects all designed to help you rediscover or boost your creativity.

Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse starts on June 6th.

Find out more and sign up here:  Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse.

Note:  This eCourse runs only once or twice each year.

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